The wolverine photography season at Wild Brown Bear begins in February while the bear season starts in April when the bears emerge from hibernation. Wolverine season with continue till the end of October. The likelihood of observing wolverine depends month by month, but ranges between 60-95% per night.
The Wolverine Gulo gulo is the largest land-dwelling species of the family Mustelidae. In Finland the Wolverine population is stable around 200 individuals, and the concentration of this population along primarily the Finnish-Russian border, creates a unique opportunity for photographers and watchers to capture stunning images of these rare mammals in the wild.
The wolverine is a timid and skittish mammal that will need total silence when observing in order to maximise the viewing experience. It must be noted that wolverines are difficult to photograph due to their fast movements and skittish behaviour, because of this a good image is rewarding and unique in its appearance. To bring out some of the wolverines unique behaviour, it is possible for baits to be placed at different heights on the trees surrounding the hides. By doing this the wolverine may stand on their hind legs and even climb onto the trees to reach the meat. It is possible to do this on various trees and this allows a wider array of photographs to be taken.
Again, it must be noted that wolverines react and move much quicker than the bears, being prepared in the field will aid you achieving your perfect photograph. Due to the small size of the wolverine, it is more easily seen moving about on the snow cover, when the snow begins to thaw out and the grasses begin to establish, the wolverine can sometimes be more elusive, which requires more attention from the observer.
February - March
In winter, there is a very good chance of observing and photographing the wolverines on snow, the snow is very deep and soft this time of year. In winter and spring before and during the emergence of the first bear, the probability of observing wolverine is very high, ranging between 70-90% per evening. During this time of year, photographic opportunities are plentiful showing the hardy wolverine foraging for food in harsh wintery conditions.
To bring out some of the wolverines unique behaviour, it is possible for baits to be placed at different heights on the trees surrounding the hides. By doing this the wolverines will stand on their hind legs and even climb onto the trees to reach the meat. It is possible to do this on various trees and this allows a wider array of photographs to be taken
It is still possible that the wolverines may frequent the area during the daytime. In winter it is possible to stay in hide all day and night. In dark time there is chance to see Northern Lights in the northern sky from hides. In February and March we have 3 hides to use; 23, 24 and 25, this way we can focus animals better on the area.
April - May
In April there is still a very good chance of observing and photographing the wolverines on snow. Due to the size of the wolverine, the frost and hard snow brought about by the low temperatures will help it move more easily. Both wolverine and bears become more active from the beginning of April onwards, and can been seen moving around the snow and foraging in the early and late hours of the daytime. Chances for wolverine are 70-95 percent.
The abundance of snow creates a unique image and the perfect background on which to photograph the wild animals. The reflectivity of the snow allows shooting past the hours of daylight and also softens the light on the animal. Photographing the predators on the snow is popular due to the contrasting colours of landscape and animal, and although most years the snow will remain till the beginning of May, this may change as every year has climatic variation.
When the snow has thawed it is possible to photograph the wolverine with its reflection in the calm ponds, and the lush vegetation of late spring and summer make for some beautiful images. In May it is possible to witness cubs of wolverine when they visit in the hide area. But more often adult wolverines pick-up food for cubs, which are hiding in the wilds.
The transition into summer creates new possibilities for Wolverine photography, most notably the mid-summer sun creating almost 24 hours of light available for photography. This means photographic opportunities are almost endless with regard to the amount of daylight.
Along with the extended daylight hours, summer also brings new photographic opportunities within the Boreal landscape, where the landscape is green and lush of vegetation. Swamps are carpeted with the iconic flowering cotton grass in June and July, making dramatic images possible from hides such as those on the swamps.
During summer, adult wolverines are busy foraging for food to feed their cubs, so feeding trips are regular. The probability of observing wolverine during these months is between 70-95%. Eye level windows have been installed in hides 11,15,17-25. These windows offer photographers a unique opportunity to achieve an intimate eye level perspective with wolverine as well as other animals.
The activity levels in autumn are at a similar or higher level to the previous months however autumn brings new possibilities for photographers in terms of autumnal colours and scenery.
The swamps are now changing colour from green to orange and red producing warm autumnal tones. During autumn, young wolverine may also be present and visible alone as they learn to forage independently from their parents.
Reflections are possible during September on the lake hides 1-6, and 21-25 where photographers can incorporate the autumn landscape into images with wolverine. Every year is different in terms of changes in vegetation colour, but the best time to capture the most vibrant autumn colours is in mid-September. Autumn colours on ground is possible to see throughout September, but the best autumn colours on ground is after mid-September all the way throughout October or until the snow. In the end of September is possible to have first snow, but more common it is in October.
The aurora season gets underway in September, and the darker nights allow photographers to capture this spectacle from north facing hides.
In Autumn probability to see wolverine is from 80 up to 95 percent. In October we have 5 hides to use; 21, 22 23, 24 and 25, so animals will focus better on the hide area. In October it is possible to stay in hide all day and night, in autumn wolverines can be active also during the daytime.
At Wild Brown Bear wolves are also present year round. However, due to their large territory size and behavioural characteristics they are more elusive than the Bear or Wolverine. Spring and Autumn tend to be the most effective seasons for viewing the wolves.
If the conditions are right it is even possible to see wolves alongside the other apex predators in the area; the wolverine and the bear.
Over recent years individual wolves from a local pack have been seen to frequent the area, usually the wolves travel individually to cover ground as a pack more easily, however, in the winter months it is more common for wolves to travel together as it makes for easier work travelling through the snow as a group.
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